‘Masks Optional.’ Some parents upset with latest mask decision in Union County

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Parents scrambling with no time and no alternatives after the Union County School Board voted Wednesday night to make masks optional.    

One mom says she’s out of options and worried about the new school year at Marvin Ridge High School.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m very concerned,” said Wendy Hamilton, a parent of a Marvin Ridge High School student.

Hamilton says ‘masks optional’ gives her no option for a school alternative for her son.

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“It’s frustrating as a parent because we have no other options. There’s no virtual school offered in Union County and because of that, if you don’t want to send your child in, you’re kind of out of luck.”

She’ll send her son to school in a mask for the first day of school Monday, but students can be maskless.

Union County is the largest school district in the state not requiring face coverings.

FOX 46’s Robin Kanady asked parents on Facebook for their thoughts on the school board’s decision, and dozens responded.


Study estimates how far behind NC elementary, middle school students fell during pandemic year

Many parents are upset the board is not to requiring masks but several are happy to have a choice.

“Obviously COVID’s a serious disease. I’m vaccinated, but it affects people who are older much more seriously than people her age,” said Chris Day, who has a kindergartener at Waxhaw Elementary.

“You’re putting a piece of cloth that covers half their communication, their non-verbal communication, with other people during a peak formative stage of their life. There are kids that have been in school now for two years that have not seen the faces of the kids that they go to school with and that I believe is unevaluated in terms of long-term mental health risks,” said Day.


Watch: FOX 46 Goes Back to School Special

Some parents flat out see masks as a way to keep kids in school and out of quarantine because state guidance says a student doesn’t have to quarantine and can stay in class, if they’ve been masked and come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID at school.

Union County Public Schools say the district has a support plan for students impacted by quarantine.

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